Frank Ocean's Blonde: is it actually shite?

THE musical world changed when Frank Ocean released Blonde in 2016. But, like that year’s other world-changing events – Brexit and Trump – was it actually shite? 

Stupid voices: tracks 1, 2, 7, 9, 14, 17

The album begins with Frank’s lovely, timeless baritone electronically pitched up to sound like a robot Muppet. This does not get less grating the more you listen to the album. The palpable sense of relief when he starts singing properly never goes away.

No drums: tracks 1, 2, 5, 6, 14, 15, 16

There’s a terrible mistake musicians make called ‘let’s release the demos’, when they can’t recapture the vitality of when they first laid down the track because they can’t be arsed. Much of this drumless, acoustic guitar album, with pounding rhythms, children’s choirs and orchestras thrown in seemingly at random, is clearly half-finished bollocks.

No tunes: pretty much all of it

A vocal alone isn’t a tune. Was Frank forced to record this on a four-track studio from the 1970s? Or did he have the finest studios and musicians possible available to him and not bother using them, because in his stoned wisdom he decided his fine voice and a few processed organ sounds were all the world deserved?

Wasted features: tracks 3, 7, 10

Beyonce’s supposedly on Pink + White, though it’s never been proved. Kendrick Lamar shouts a few words on Skyline To. Andre 3000 has a furious 78-second rap on Solo (reprise). Any one of them could deliver flatulence more musical than this.

Very short songs: tracks 4, 8, 12, 13

If a track’s just sequenced backing music and no tune and the aforementioned stupid voices, it’s not a song. If it’s a sampled phone call from Frank’s mom warning him not to smoke weed, she had a fucking point.

Sometimes it’s good: track 3

There’s an actually good song on Blonde, with tunes and instruments and backing vocals as on his previous album, his name-making mixtape and all other pop and rock music. It is here to show the rest of the album up.

He’s done fuck all since: 2016-ongoing

Ocean tricked his record label and Apple into giving him shitloads of money. Since then he’s released a handful of singles, a $25,000 cock ring and didn’t show up for Coachella. Yeah. He can’t be arsed.

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